"Plan for the Worst"
During a recent appearance on the Tom Martino radio show, Harris Family Law partner Mike Cheroutes cautioned parents handling their own divorce or APR cases to be sure to "plan for the worst" when drafting parenting time agreements. Mr. Cheroutes pointed out that parenting plans are generally drafted at a time when parents are getting along (at least enough to agree on a parenting schedule), but are interpreted at a time when the parents are in conflict. Among other things, parenting plans should always state specifically what the parenting time will be in case of a dispute, and should also contain an "Alternative Dispute Resolution" (ADR) clause setting forth a mechanism in addition to court for working through parenting problems and conflicts. Unfortunately for one of the callers to the Martino Show, her parenting plan did not contain default parenting time or ADR provisions, and when a conflict arose she temporary lost all parenting time with her children.
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